I just came across your panel while searching the net for the clear tail
light lens laws. I am very impressed with your discussions. I think each
state should have a web based Q & A board for these types of questions. My
question is simple. We have a friend that got a DUI a month ago and he blew
some outrageous amount in the test. As we were discussing it, someone said
that it was possible for someone to blow a larger BAC if they just finished
drinking a few beers - like the alcohol percentage inside the mouth and
throat is relatively high. I know you can refuse the test, but then you are
placed under arrest in most states. If someone is stopped and suspected for
alcohol, can he/she wave the breathalyzer for a blood test instead for
Thanks for writing Steven. The effect you are talking about is called residue mouth alcohol. Many Portable Breath Testers (handheld size - usually non-evidentiary units) are susceptible to mouth alcohol, and for that reason a trained operator will observe the subject for 20 minutes before administering a test. In less than 20 minutes time, all residual mouth alcohol evaporates, so the test cannot be tainted. An evidentiary Breath Test device (the Breathalyzer usually housed at the Police Department) has a slope detection circuit built in to detect mouth alcohol. The actual Breathalyzer will not give a false reading because of mouth alcohol. However, the subject will still go through a 20 minute observation period in which he cannot drink, before the test will be administered.
At least here in Illinois, the type of test administered is technically up to the officer, though he may have no objection to a blood test rather than a breath test. Even so, once the arrestee is finished with processing, he has the right to go to a hospital and get any test he desires, although that will be at his expense. As with other tools, Breath Intoxilyzers are highly accurate when used properly, and that is why they are accepted in court. The result from a breath test device which is properly administered should be virtually the same as a blood test result.